FCC to auction off airwaves for in-flight Internet

By Justin Mann on January 13, 2006, 5:51 PM
Internet access on airplanes is quickly becoming a reality. While nothing more than a novelty to some, those who travel all the time, especially people who's work requires them to travel, may desire it greatly, perhaps eventually becoming a necessity. Two days ago, the Federal Communications Commission in the U.S. announced that the frequencies currently used by the airplane embedded phones will be auctioned off for the purpose of high-speed Internet... 30,000 feet in the air. Extra revenue is needed by the airline companies to continue operating, and the under-utilized airline phone system is a perfect way to use already-implemented technology to provide new services to their customers.

”The FCC proposed setting $5 million as the minimum the auction must raise for the sale to be completed. Cingular Wireless, the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, declined to comment on whether it would bid.”
Another interesting note, this also brought the FCC to debate allowing customers to use their cell phones while in flight. Typically, cell phones must be powered off the entire flight. On a 6 hour flight, that can sometimes be frustrating. Interesting stuff.




User Comments: 15

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nathanskywalker said:
Here is another article...[url]http://www.technewsworld.com/story/pq5OZ384hi
zKz/FCC-to-Auction-In-Flight-Broadband-Spectrum.xhtml[/url
And a little more detail...[url]http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060113-
976.html[/url][quote] 30,000 feet in the air[/quote]Yess!!!! ok...nvm, have only been on one air plane ever, but still, very cool.
MonkeyMan said:
This is indeed very interesting. I understand the concept of not having cell phones on Airline flights, because it could very much be used as a tool for terrorist. The only concept that's puzzling to me, is how are they going to actually implement this? will they have built in computers, with internet access in front, around, behind, upwards, downwards etc. in your seat? or will they allow you to carry Laptops, that have internet access on them? Anyway, I think its a great idea, and if they decide to implement this idea, it is definately going to make the Airline Industry Millions, if not billions, of dollars.
gamingmage said:
Very nice for people like my dad who need this kind of thing. Many people will be able to utilize this, but what about getting the laptops past sercurity? I wonder who is going to bid on it and how high the bidding will go.
vigilante said:
Good night, can't people be offline for a MEASELY handful of hours!!!Oh the humanity of it all!!
fury said:
Certainly good news for people who are in the air longer than they are on the ground. Of course, I haven't come to the age yet that my company is flying me around the country; I don't expect to reach that point of value for another decade or two, at which point we'll have planes that go 12,000 mph and internet access from our brains.
Cy6erpuke said:
I also decline to comment on whether I will bid. HaSounds good. The only surprise is that it took this long to be possible. It will have to be cheap to use though, so how do you justify spending so much money buying it...?
exscind said:
[b]Originally posted by vigilante:[/b][quote]Good night, can't people be offline for a MEASELY handful of hours!!!Oh the humanity of it all!![/quote]Some people, like stock brokers or even medical doctors, may need their cell phones on nearly 24/7. Those Wall Street gurus can't live without connections, and I understand that. For doctors, I can see the importance of cell phones operating mid-flight. Like if a doctor is travelling to a patient in dire need, the doctor should be kept aware of any subtle change in the patient's condition. Etc. etc., the list goes on. This will bring in more revenues for airplane companies, which is nothing to complain about. But the only downside is for those who don't have cell phones permanently attached to their ear (possibly ears if they're that talkative) will have to listen to other people's mumble jumble the entire flight. It's already bad enough in elevators or subway stations, it will be a pain in the rear if the same happens to airplane flights (which most likely will).
crossfire851 said:
If they will have to be paying this much(+) i hope they have quality hardware, high speeds due to congency, and user friendly.
asphix said:
Sounds interesting, and I'll be even more interested in how its implemented. Will each connection be a seperate connection, or will they all be on a network within the plane connected through a router? Will it be a pay-per-minute thing? Pay-per-hour? Pay-per-flight? Extra money for a ticket that allows internet access? How would this affect hackers? If you hacked a system from a plane, would it make it more difficult for you to be pinpointed?There are a lot more questions that pop to mind, and all these questions I believe are the reason this hasn't been implemented yet. This does pose for some great benefits though. The plane could provide for with PDA/pocket PC's that are attacked to the seat in front of you and slide into the pocket. Those things are small, light weight, draw minimal power and have a lot of the functions laptops have.I'll be interested in hearing how the details develop on this one.
vigilante said:
[quote]Some people, like stock brokers or even medical doctors, may need their cell phones on nearly 24/7. Those Wall Street gurus can't live without connections, and I understand that. For doctors, I can see the importance of cell phones operating mid-flight. Like if a doctor is travelling to a patient in dire need, the doctor should be kept aware of any subtle change in the patient's condition. Etc. etc., the list goes on.[/quote]Sure, some people would "like" to always be connected. But they can't now anyway, and they live through it. Certainly they can KEEP, living through it.Yes, I see the day where most people are like cyborgs, with their internet connected glasses and brain manipulating the screen. Where what is going on in their virtual reality is more important that what is in front of their face. A husband and wife, sitting 3 feet from each other, will chat in a private room over the Internet and not turn and talk to each other. lolThey say the Internet allows us to "connect" with so many more people. But really, you are disconnecting with those right in front of you who need you most. I say UNplug whenever you can.rant over, lol
WIPp said:
Personally I'd like to see it implemented as long as its safe and not priced as badly as making in flight calls. I travelled by Amtrak once and during an extremely long journey 17 hours or more.... jokingly suggested it to them. Amtrak already have power outlets beside every seat so why not internet.I'm sure most of us who have travelled a lot, specially on the long flights would love to see it come in since the in flight movies are boring and even the services that have games consoles..well it's a bit dismal. I'm not sure how they would go about it, it might be a culture shock to some airlines.. even the in flight movies still run on 3.1 on some carriers *rolleyesIt will be interesting to see how this develops :)
Race said:
Again....I agree with much of what exscind is saying.Based on my own experiences......having traveled around the globe many times working for bands, this development is awesome!In the music industry (and many others), when you are on overseas flights, it's a major inconvenience not having any sort of communications for anywhere from 5 to 14 hours. Even though you may have many important things to accomplish, the time is totally wasted because you can't do anything.Having access to the net on flights would be huge for those of us in these situations......not to mention a great time killer when you can't sleep, and you've already seen the movies.Cell phones, on the other hand, are a different story. Right now, you have people on planes talking on them until the plane pushes away from the gate and they are told to turn them off....and as soon as the plane lands.If they are allowed, this could be a major pain when you've got people all over the plane having private conversations.Although cell phones in flight could be very useful as well, I would hope they would put some sort of restrictions on them......perhaps time limits, and/or essential or emergency calls only.........NO lengthy casual calls.Personally, I could go either way with the cell phone issue, but internet access??.....I say it's about time!!!On a side note......we have no problems with airport security when it comes to carrying laptops on flights. Cell phones are the same. Security may occasionally ask you to turn on your phone, and less often, your computer.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[b]Originally posted by MonkeyMan:[/b][quote]This is indeed very interesting. I understand the concept of not having cell phones on Airline flights, because it could very much be used as a tool for terrorist.[/quote]Can't anything be used for that?
MonkeyMan said:
lol @ Mictlantechuhtli, your right, but I mean communicationwise.
mentaljedi said:
Its great but i don't think i'll be using it very soon. I accept how much its needed but in all honesty, i don't believe that it will be commerically available within the next 5 years.
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